Gaining Momentum

As I began the blog there were plenty of people who told us that what we were doing was “nice” but it will have little effect on the concussion issue.  The easiest and actual response was “so what?”  I honestly did not care if people didn’t take the information we wanted to present seriously; I KNEW that someone would.

The original concept was to gather stories and information from as many sources I could find on the limited time I have to devote to the blog.  Fortunately we were able to add contributors that have helped in this endeavor (looking at you Noodle), as well as Parent Advocates and the occasional “anonymous poster”.

We believe the information is valid and “blog-worthy” in order to make people aware of the ever-changing issue of concussions.  As viewers and commentors have increased over time we believe that we are on the right path.

A lot of the emails and comments I receive in confidence take umbrage with the “attacks” on the NFL and major sports.  I can see that angle and appreciate the candor, however it is those entities that we will gain the most profound guidance Continue reading

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Matt Chaney: Football-Meida Complex

Matt Chaney is a former football player and even self-described “juicer” during his time in the game.  He used his first hand experience to write a book about steroids in football “Spiral of Denial: Muscle Doping in American Football“, and now has taken his focus on the concussion issue.  Chaney is what I like to call a “pseudo contributor” to The Concussion Blog, he has helped with finding many articles and topics on this blog.  Behind the scenes Matt is one of the most profound people to spark conversation, and has very “real” views on this issue; not to mention that Chaney is a very good journalist.  (This post is part 2 of an excerpt preview for a pending analysis on Chaney’s Blog, ‘Brain Trauma Stalks Football Players, Dictates Impact Game Reform,’ which will include independent experts’ recommendations for constructive steps imperative to the sport’s survival at public schools and colleges.)

A couple of months after Matt Chaney took a hard look at Neuropsychological Testing he now looks at how the media has been handling the issue.  Matt holds nothing back as his analysis and opinion make people take a look at how things are being done.  Chaney has even given The Concussion Blog some of his feedback and we listen to every point.  Some of his points are clear but yet seem to be overlooked;

Despite the contemporary campaign of “concussion awareness” and “culture change” for tackle football, as game officials and media promote, America essentially remains insensitive to brain disorder in victims and especially athletes.

“Generally speaking, mankind does not empathize with brain diseases as well as with physical ailments; there is this negative response, culturally, for diseases of the brain,” said Dr. Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who first discovered cerebral damage in an American football player, deceased NFL lineman Mike Webster.

“If you talk about having mental disorder, psychological disease, people wouldn’t empathize with you,” Omalu said. “Rather, they would Continue reading

The Media and Concussions

After being ignored for far too long, concussions and brain injury seem to have been rightfully recognized as the most important issue in contact sports. However, even the medical community is quick to note the dearth of good information about brain injuries. After my cycling accident and subsequent coma almost 8 years ago, the information my family was given had them constantly bracing for the worst. My mom tells me that when she was a kid and she’d ask her dad a question, the answer would invariably be, “Look it up.” That explains her career choice (librarian) and her never-ending search for more information. Yet, even she had a very difficult time finding information that would give her solace or at least an idea of what problems her son would face. Even though my brain injury was more acute and severe than a concussion, both are brain injuries. I think that an extremely important point about concussions is being lost in the extra-subjective and passionate world of pro sports.

It’s fortunate the newspapers like the Globe and Mail and the New York Times were quickly on the issue as it came to the fore in their health and sports sections. As would be expected, the Globe and Mail centres most of their attention on hockey, while the New York Times focuses primarily on football. They’ve obviously done an outstanding job of bringing the brain injury issue forward. An issue will not become important to the public by starting with explanations and definitions, but once an issue goes from afterthought Continue reading